Friday, December 18, 2009

Priceless (Hors de Prix)

I loved Audrey Tautou in Amelie, one of the more charming, memorable movies I've seen.  So to see that she was starring in a new romantic comedy got me pretty excited!  Suffice it to say, I should have just watched Amelie again.

Many romantic comedies start out by showing how pathetic the lives of the main characters are.  That's often the point: they are pathetic, they find each other, and meaning and happiness come their way!  But if they're too pathetic, the movie can be pathetic and lose the sympathy of the audience.  That was the case with me and Priceless.

Irene's (Tautou) goal in life was to bed and eventually marry some rich guy who could set her up for life.  So she seduces rich men, and eventually gets engaged.  Meanwhile, Jean (Gad Elmaleh) works in an exclusive hotel that caters to rich men who bed young seductresses.  Late one night, Irene mistakes Jean for a potential sugar daddy.  They have a memorable one night stand.  When they meet again a year later, they have another one night stand, Irene's fiancee finds out about it, and Irene learns that Jean is not wealthy, but a hotel employee.  So not only did she lose her rich fiancee, but her back up plan fails as well.

Not wanting to give up on romance with Irene, Jean follows her to another hotel, and ends up as the lover of a rich widow.  So he and Tatou secretly carry on their relationship while living with their rich lovers.  They meet for late-night liaisons, comparing notes as to who go the most expensive gifts. Pathetic, and yucky.  She's certainly attractive, but why would he fall for her like that, knowing how she's whoring herself?  And why follow suit by whoring himself?

The best that can be said of this movie is that they both come to realize that sharing their love together, even if they're poor, beats enjoying the wealth of those they do not love.  As we read in the Proverbs, "Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred."  Even though this was a comedy, I left it feeling dirty, a bit creeped out by the idea of living the way they did.  Yuck.

Bottom line, 1 star.

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